Hosted by National Institute of Military Justice (in honor of NIMJ’s 30th anniversary)
The following pieces are from the “30 Years of Military Justice” symposium held on Oct. 28, 2021, with keynote speaker Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and in partnership with Georgetown University Law Center’s Center on National Security and the Law, the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, and the Georgetown National Security Law and Military Law Societies.
In 2018, the Supreme Court held that it has appellate jurisdiction to review decisions of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) under 28 U.S.C. §1259. However, CAAF is the final court atop the “courts-martial system” and §1259 limits Supreme Court review of courts-martial cases to those where CAAF has already reviewed or granted some relief. In fiscal year 2020, CAAF granted review in just 10.9% of cases where it received a petition.
Kyle Yoerg argues that service members should have a right to appeal to the Supreme Court even if CAAF denies a petition for review. The following three reasons underlie his argument. First, service members currently have inferior access to the Supreme Court than do civilians in other jurisdictions in the United State. This includes defendants in state court and even suspected enemy combatants detained at Guantanamo. Second, CAAF traditionally reviews error correction cases where the Supreme Court is unlikely to grant certiorari. Finally, enhanced Supreme Court review will not adversely affect military readiness.
Yoerg ultimately concludes that the Equal Justice for Our Military Act, an amendment to 28 U.S.C. § 1259 originally proposed in 2009, is the appropriate vehicle to expand service member access.
Caitlin Dunham writes that military readiness is a key component to achieving the US Department of Defense’s mission of protecting the security of our country. Support for the troops is conveyed in advertisements and professional sports, and by politicians and citizens across the country. However, the role of the military spouse is not often thought of being crucial to military readiness. Yet, a military spouse can strongly impact readiness through service member retention.
A military spouse’s outlook regarding the military is closely linked with a current service member’s likelihood to stay in the military. The more positive the military spouse views his or her time as a part of a military family, the more likely the service member is to stay in the military. A military spouse is more likely to have positive views of the military if he or she is afforded sufficient educational and professional opportunities.